Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

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Review written by Emery R.
           
            I'll start with saying that I am a person constantly on the hunt for a good book. It's a normal thing for my mother, brother and I to drop into a bookstore when we have a weekend with nothing to do, or when we're just finishing running errands before going home. The fateful moment came on one such day when we had stepped into a bookstore and were recommended The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer. I would have flown through it in a day, except I had started reading rather late and had to retire for bed.

            The Secret Hum of a Daisy is about a girl named Grace, her mother dies on an accident, and Grace finds the body and blames herself because her last words to her mother were angry. That's why she (her mother) had gone outside to take a walk, fallen along the bank of a creek, hit her head on a rock and drowned. After her mother's funeral Grace has to pack up and leave the life she had with Mrs. Greene and her best friend Lacey and live with a grandmother who her mother ran away from. Grace has never met her grandmother. The book is basically about Grace adapting to her new life and finding “home” the way she sees it. She discovers a “home” though the countless efforts by her grandmother to make amends for the reason she and Grace never knew each other, through a cast of very interesting and amazing peers in her new school, and through an inexplicable kind of treasure hunt that is just like the ones her mother would set up for her whenever they moved.

            The main characters in The Secret Life of a Daisy are Grace, 12 years old and trying to cope with the death of her mother, and Grandma, who is trying to make amends with Grace for what she did that caused her daughter to flee the town. My favorite character however, had to be Jo, Grace's first friend she makes when she moves in with her grandmother. Jo is an aspiring film director, and who has demons of her own, specifically regarding her younger brother. She was my favorite because she's trustworthy; she won't spill your secrets, she's very loyal to her family and friends, and she's patient. She lets Grace tell her own story when she's ready. I felt that I could relate her mainly because she has a little brother who she's loyal to and protective of, and that reminds me of my younger brother and I. 

My favorite parts of this book were the school scenes. They were somewhat lighthearted with contributions from Jo and the other students Grace meets at school. The author gave them their own peculiar traits like Ginger Pepper, who breaks into Shakespearian monologues, Beth Crinkle, who doesn't go anywhere without her label maker, and Archer Lee Hamilton, who takes an interest in Grace on her first day, and makes pretty decent sketches. I was just able to see the cast of characters Grace has around her and the unique feel of the town in that school.

My least favorite parts are whenever Grace ignores her grandmother's continuous efforts to reconcile and behaves rudely to her. I knew that Grandma had a lot to make up for, but she was trying to make amends, and I felt sort of frustrated with Grace whenever she blatantly refused to try and help repair the gap between them, even if I knew where she was coming from.

I absolutely LOVED this book. The writing just spoke to me, and I practically devoured it. I was to the point of begging for an extra thirty minutes to an hour before I went to bed so I could read more, but...I did need the sleep.


I would definitely recommend this book to another person. It was an excellent read, and I felt like I could really hear the character's voice and the voices of those around her. The descriptions were vivid and really helped me to picture the scenes in the book, but they weren't overdone. I was practically living in the story for the duration of the time it took for me to finish it. If you like realistic fiction and books with plots involving long lost, and somewhat estranged relatives and healing than this is the book for you. I hope that if you read this book you will enjoy it as much as I did, and that Grace and the quirky cast of characters she's thrown in with will entertain and stick in your head for days afterwards. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this review.

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